Posts filed under ‘Member Profiles’

NAIOP’s University Challenge: Connecting students to their commercial real estate future

By Adam Voge, Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq


Nate Erickson

In 2011, Nate Erickson was a senior at St. Cloud State University, months away from entering the commercial real estate field and looking for opportunities after graduation.
Fast forward five years, and Nate can point out the decision that put his career on the path it’s on today: competing in NAIOP Minnesota’s University Challenge.

Nate signed up for the competition, which pits various area schools against each other in a quest to pitch the best development for a site somewhere in the Twin Cities. Nate’s team was one of five to present competing visions for redeveloping the Oakdale Mall.
The contest is hypothetical, so his team’s vision hasn’t become a reality, but one thing certainly materialized from the experience: a career path.

“The University Challenge is partly why I’m here,” said Nate.

After the competition, Nate received a call from Jen Helm, a broker at Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq, who asked whether he would be interested in interning in her retail group. Nate took the job, and today is an upwardly mobile Associate of Brokerage Services.
Not only is Nate a rising broker at Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq, he’s an active volunteer for NAIOP. This year, he decided to co-chair the committee planning the same competition he credits with advancing his career: The University Challenge.

Nate reiterates with student participants just how important the event could be to them, helping them see development and real estate from the bigger picture perspective and helping them make contacts for the future.

“I try to reiterate with the students today that having something like this on your resume, no matter your final place in the competition, helps set you apart,” he said. “And since real estate is hot, many kids are looking to get into the industry. They’re going to need that distinguishing factor.”

One of Nate’s teammates on that SCSU team in 2011 has also since joined Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq. About two years ago, Nate heard that Peter Fooshe was looking to break into brokerage, and Peter was able to find a position working in the industrial division at the firm.

Nate said the University Challenge encourages the kind of creativity and creative thinking that you won’t always find in the classroom.

“A lot of tests you take in college are multiple-choice or just have one right answer,” he said. “But with the University Challenge, there are tons of possibilities. The project is more conceptual and forces students to think outside the box.”

March 18, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Member Profile: Phil Cattanach, The Opus Group


By Mike Brown, GREATER MSP

Phil has taken up the mantle as Vice Chair of the Public Policy Committee for NAIOP Minnesota.  He has been active with NAIOP for a few years and wanted an opportunity to gain deeper engagement.  I caught up with him recently to learn more about him and his career.

Why did you want to get more involved with NAIOP?
NAIOP has been a great organization for me to be involved with.  It provides great insight into industry best practices and provided me the opportunity to learn more about the industry.  I’m excited to have the opportunity to think about the advocacy agenda for our industry with such an engaged and intelligent group of people.

What are some of the challenges you see for companies doing business in our region?
Our region is fortunate to have one of the most talented workforces in the country.  It gives us a competitive edge as we compete for and ultimately successfully develop projects.  Maintaining this workforce is critical for our value proposition in Minnesota.  The region is very competitive, with many great developers and project teams.  The competition makes us all better, but it is challenging.

Additionally, the cost of doing business is another challenge for our region.  Looking for ways to impact how to reduce those is something I look forward to.

What is your role at Opus?
I’ve been with Opus for 10 years and currently I am the Director of Real Estate Development.  My projects tend to be skewed toward industrial applications, but I’m also involved in retail and office development.  I have a passion for the development side of the business.  It has an entrepreneurial sense to it.  Each day is different.  It is often not a linear process which challenges my problem solving skills.  But I also appreciate the deadline-driven nature of the business.  It keeps things moving.

Cattanach FamilyYour time with Opus was interrupted by a tour of duty in Iraq.  How did that work?
That’s right.  I went to college at West Point and graduated with a degree in civil engineering. I completed a tour in Iraq and was ready to start my civilian career. The tangibility of the construction and development industry was appealing to me, and I was fortunate to get a job at Opus.  After I’d been here a couple years, Uncle Sam called and I was redeployed to Iraq.  My role was in combat operations, which has many similarities to my work here, albeit much different stakes.  After two years, I was back and was warmly welcomed back to Opus.

It is interesting that you say your role in the Army has similarities to your current position.  Many veterans have trouble finding a position when they return.  Why do you think that is?
In the military you are taught to always think about the group and do what is best for all.  I think that means that members of the military aren’t used to promoting themselves and taking credit for their contributions.  As a result they don’t see the parallels between skills learned in the military and those used in the civilian workplace.  And yet, veterans will make great employees.  They are generally highly motivated, accountable and not afraid to make decisions.  They have a strong work ethic.  Qualities that any employer could use.

So what is on your bucket list?
Have Army beat Navy in football.  Seriously, I am a huge outdoorsman, and I also love to spend time with my family (I have six kids).  I would love to take my family on a trip to Alaska sometime.  I would love to share my passion for the outdoors with them and that would be a great place to do it.

February 4, 2016 at 9:20 am

Member Profile: Kim Dennis, bdh+young interiors|architecture

A native of North Dakota, Kim is widely traveled. She’s been to 49 states and still has Alaska on her “bucket list.” Her mother hails from Europe and she spent part of her childhood traveling the country, learning the valuable lesson of communicating with people from all walks of life. Her parents currently reside in both North Dakota and England, where Kim and her husband Rick were married. Last summer’s adventure included touring six countries in Europe requiring five different currencies!

Kim is a third generation proud graduate of NDSU and has been active on the Board of Directors for the past 10 years. She recruits for the university and is a proud alum who has attended all four of the National Championship games. She is also active in the mentoring program and has given sage advice to many current and past students. Her firm has hired many interns from NDSU and is always encouraging more NDSU students to seek out employment opportunities here in the Twin Cities. Many architects, engineers and design professionals in the Twin Cities hail from NDSU and Kim has enjoyed partnering with them on various projects through the decades. Anyone who knows Kim, knows she is a proud gal from North Dakota who loves to cheer on the NDSU Bison!

work hard_webWork Hard:
Kim leads one of the largest interior and architectural design firms in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. She serves as Managing Partner at bdh+young interiors | architecture, a women-owned firm established in 1971. Kim’s passion for research, creativity, and client driven design solutions is evident in her impressive body of work over the past three decades.

Kim integrates her passion for design with her understanding of design efficiencies and functional needs. She is an advocate for creative and effective design solutions, using a multi-disciplinary team approach to create functional, efficient, and creative spaces.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal recognized Kim as one of the “25 Women to Watch” as an industry leader. She has been active in a number of affiliations and volunteering positions over the years, including the NAIOP Minnesota Board of Directors and committee chair, USGBC Minnesota Chapter member, Caring for Kids, Hearts & Hammers, M.S. Society volunteer, and Catalyst Community Partners volunteer, as well as being heavily involved with her alma mater NDSU. Giving back and mentoring is important to her.

play hard_webPlay Hard:
Beyond the passion for her work, Kim enjoys golfing, downhill skiing, organic gardening, and spending time with family and friends. She loves great wine and exploring new restaurants. She thoroughly enjoys traveling; taking that time to expand her mind and be inspired. She and her husband traveled to The British Open in 2006 and again in 2014, enjoying the tournament with many family members as it was just a few miles from her parents’ home in England. The Ryder Cup is also a “bucket list” item. She’s hoping to check that box next summer when it’s held here in our fair city.

August 24, 2015 at 8:30 am

Member Profile: Maggie Linvill Smith, Linvill Properties

A quick sightseeing break while working in Moscow in 1994

A quick sightseeing break while working in Moscow in 1994

By Tim Alevizos

Maggie’s journey to running Linvill Properties took her first to Brown University in Rhode Island, next to The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and then back to Minnesota…with stops along the way in Siberia, Moscow, Zanzibar, Uganda, Poland, Bulgaria, Morocco, and Bosnia (via C-130 military transport, as part of the post- Dayton Peace Accords economic reform team).

“You could say I took the long way home,” says Maggie. “Early in my professional career I was ambivalent about working for the family business, and when Price Waterhouse offered me the opportunity to assist in the privatization of Eastern Bloc economies, I couldn’t resist. Even after I joined Linvill Properties in 1994, I remained on contract with them for the next four years. I’d say to my dad, ‘Can you take me off the payroll for the next three months while I go to Albania?’

“I loved the international work and I think I made a real contribution, but it came at the cost of putting down roots. Then my mother’s health began to decline, and in 2000 my father died suddenly.  At that point any remaining uncertainty disappeared. I was fully committed to maintaining Linvill Properties’ leadership and ushering in a new era of growth. The fact that I met Ed, my husband-to-be, in short order only confirmed that I’d made the right decision.”

Maggie with her husband, Ed, stepchildren Erik and Rachel, and daughter Catherine, in 2012.

Maggie with her husband, Ed, stepchildren Erik and Rachel, and daughter Catherine, in 2012.

“I wasn’t sure how applicable my international experience would be to running the family business, but it turns out that many of the skills my international clients valued are no less useful in property development. I’m not afraid of complexity, nor is our company. We embrace our tenants’ diversity and value them as individuals, each with unique needs and goals. Rather than trying to shoehorn them into a specific landlord-tenant model, we partner with them as individuals and create solutions that are unique to their circumstances.

“The fact is, whether you’re a state-run utility in Belarus or a light industrial firm in Eagan, you need room to react to change. One reason we have such great retention is because we understand that. Our tenants have a well-founded sense that they and Linvill Properties are in this together.”

“Under the Community Involvement section of my resume, there are a lot of bullets – from past work with the Minnesota Chamber of commerce, Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women and the Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation to my current involvement in the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, St. Paul Economic Development Corporation and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

“Healthy communities make for healthy businesses, and the most important thing I can do to ensure we thrive is to be fully engaged both in my company and its ecosystem.”

While work ties Maggie to the community, family anchors her to it. “Getting married earlier in the millennium and having a child several years ago brought everything into relief. I’ve always conducted business ethically and with an eye toward how my work affects the larger community. But now that I have a more personal stake in the future, my focus is on growing Linvill Properties in a way that strengthens and broadens the Twin Cities’ economic base to make this an even greater place to put down roots.”

RED SQUARE PHOTO CAPTION (if you need one)
A quick sightseeing break while working in Moscow in 1994
FAMILY CAPTION (if you need one)
Maggie with her husband, Ed, stepchildren Erik and Rachel, and daughter Catherine, in 2012.

July 27, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Member Profile: Scott Peterson, CSM

Scott PetersonPersonal Summary:
My undergrad degree is in Business Management from Montana State University with an Executive MBA from the University of Arizona. I started my career in Las Vegas at the peak of the market and watched it drop through 2006-2008. I learned a lot more in the recession than I would have in an up market. My time was spent from land acquisition, to entitlements, to actual development in the field. After 2008 I moved to Hawaii and was part of a team building an $80M resort project through the recession. In 2011 I moved to Lake Tahoe and opened the California office for a construction firm based out of Arizona. At the end of 2013, I had received my EMBA degree and wanted to join a major market to advance my career. Being a native to St. Paul, the Twin Cities was a likely place to settle. I joined CSM in June of 2014 and am currently the Senior Director of Development for the lodging side of the CSM business model.

I am currently managing the active hotel portfolio for CSM Corporation consisting of over 700 hotel rooms under development/construction. An average week consists of traveling 3 days, specifically to Boston, Michigan, Phoenix, and Seattle where our active hotel projects are located. In addition, I am constantly working with our team of analysts to determine and pursue new development acquisition opportunities nationwide.

5:00 – 8:00:
I enjoy the outdoors and spending time with my yellow lab at the cabin. In the fall and winter I try to make a trip out west to fly fish and ski a few days a year and enjoy the mountains. 2015 is scheduled to be a busy year for me as I recently moved back to the Twin Cities, purchased a house and am getting married in September.

May 11, 2015 at 11:06 am

Member Profile: Kim Hofstede, CCIM, Carlson Real Estate Company

Kim_Hofstede_BioThe Roots: Raised in Clinton, Wisconsin, Kim grew up with a real estate background since her dad is a broker who specializes in farm land sales. She attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison and actively pursued a double major in accounting and finance with the goal to become an accountant. During college, Kim accepted a real estate internship with Carlson Real Estate and soon realized that she needed to rethink a career in auditing. After graduating from college, she was hired full-time by Carlson as a Real Estate Associate. She has been working at Carlson for almost 11 years and enjoys that each day is a new challenge and experience.

Developing Leaders Award winners

2012 Developing Leaders Award winners

Passion for Work: Currently, as the Vice President of Carlson Real Estate, Kim oversees the company’s Minneapolis and Charlotte portfolios and property dispositions. She also manages the lot sales and development process of the Woodland Cove residential community that contains over 1,000 housing units. Kim’s passion for deal making, developing creative solutions for clients and always seeking the next challenge has led her to become a dynamic commercial real estate professional.

Hofstede-7140NAIOP Board: Kim has been on the NAIOP Minnesota Chapter Board since 2013. She currently serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for 2015 and 2016. In this role, Kim is charged with chairing the Finance Committee and overseeing the organization’s finances. Kim has been involved in numerous NAIOP committees, including chairing the University Challenge and Developing Leader committees. In 2012, Kim was named one of the recipients of NAIOP’s National Developing Leaders Award. In addition, Kim is a member of the Trends in Real Estate III National Forum. As an active NAIOP member, Kim has utilized NAIOP’s intuitive networking platform to foster many valuable relationships with other members.

Family Fun:
Kim and her husband, Al, have three children; Riley (5 years old) and Mason and Mackenzie (fraternal twins who turn 2 in June). Kim and her husband recently took Riley to Disney World for the first time. His favorite part of Disney World was “swimming in the pool at the hotel.” Kim is looking forward to the summer ahead and spending time with her family and friends and relaxing at the family cabins.

April 16, 2015 at 8:10 am

Member Profile: Jay Helgren, Vercon Inc.

Citrus Bowl BoundPersonal Summary
I was born in Green Bay, WI and grew up in Oshkosh as a Packer fan (I shook Ray Nitschke’s hand when I was 10 – it was bigger than my head!). There was no worse team in the world than the hated Vikings…until we moved to Minnesota when I was 10 and I turned into a Vikings fan a month later. Oh well. My parents bought a house in Mound (only $40k!) on this little lake called “Minnetonka” on the west side of town in 1972. We enjoyed boating during the summers, and back then Big Island was just a nice family picnic spot where you could let the anchor out and chase your younger brothers around with seaweed. I guess times have changed…just a bit.

I started my college career at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, famous for their “One Course at a Time” schedule, and also played on the basketball and golf teams. After a year traveling in the international singing/entertainment group Up With People (where I met my wife Kathi), I transferred to the U of M and graduated from the Carlson School. I followed that up with an MBA from St. Thomas a few years later. We were the last class to graduate before they moved into their beautiful new downtown Minneapolis campus…so close!

Citrus Bowl Tailgate8-5
My father had a career in residential and commercial real estate sales and then ultimately as a residential appraiser, which is where my love for the business most likely originated. Never far from the building/real estate industries, I’ve worked for Honeywell, Trane, Greystone Construction and now Vercon, Inc., a commercial contractor and custom home builder as the VP of Sales and Marketing. We just opened a new office in Plymouth last summer and are looking forward to expanding our business in the metro area. At one point I got my residential appraiser’s license and was planning to join my father in the business, only to have the market crash in the mid-90s shortly after I became certified. I helped him on the side for a few years doing analysis and driving all over the cities taking comp pictures, but never made the full-time jump into the business. I enjoy all aspects of the building process and still learn something new every week.

My wife and I have really enjoyed being empty-nesters…at least we did until our daughter (and her dog) moved back in with us last fall. So much for peace and quiet. Jordan (25) is a buyer for Wilson’s Leather and relocated back here after a stint in Milwaukee for the Bon-Ton Stores. She went to UW-Madison but we don’t hold that against her. Our son Tanner (21) will graduate from the U of M (he did it the right way) in May and is looking to start his career in sales. He’s had good parenting and now pushes his chair in after dinner, so I’m sure he’ll make some company very happy they hired him! Kathi is the HR Partner for Shred-it’s central region and stays very busy after their merger with the data destruction division of Cintas last year. In our spare time we willingly spend a lot of it hanging out with the kids. Golfing, boating, enjoying Minnesota summers and spending time with friends rounds out the rest of our free time.

March 31, 2015 at 10:13 am

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